Microsoft Stays in its Groove

Rob Hof

Microsoft's purchase today of Groove Networks isn't really surprising, given its previous investments in the collaboration software company. And you certainly can't accuse the Redmond giant of being inconsistent. Buying Groove is a way to beef up its mainstay Office by adding more collaborative capabilities to its myriad other features. But has the era of big programs that live on the computer on your desk or your lap passed? The collaborative Web sites called , for one, seem to present a more lightweight, Web-based alternative to Groove. While they can't yet hold a candle to all of Groove's capabilities, they're evolving fast because they're so easy to use. Even Microsoft offers a wiki of its own. Should be interesting to see which approach ultimately wins where it counts--among paying customers.

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